The Glorious Lessons of the Honey Bee

I love watching bees gathering nectar from flowers.  To watch them amble into a blossom and walk along the silken curtains is pure delight.

Put yourself into that image a moment—of being a worker bee gathering provisions for the hive.   See yourself walking into a sacred hall completely surrounded—top to bottom with pink or yellow curtains.  See how easily you might stumble in the soft folds as you make your way to the center.  How you would ecstatically gather the gifts left on the altar in baskets carried at your sides.  How you would thrum with a Divine urgency to complete your task.  How you would be charged with an electric desire for sweetness—and to work for the good of the hive.  How it would be so hard to turn back from that sacristy of wonder and soar, not knowing if you will find another. And yet, that unknowing would be just a part of the play—for in your heart of hearts you would know–there are other sanctuaries—there are as many as you need, each one opening before you as you dip and rise in the morning air on your holy search for the stuff dreams are made of—the nectar of labor—the pollen of ideas—the honey of desire.

Why not do this now, right where you are?  Know that you have a dream and that it is laden with sweetness.  It is a dream to fulfill your Heart’s Desire.  And Your Heart’s Desire blends seamlessly with the Desires of the Heart of the World—to share, to give, to shine, and to work together in one incredibly beautiful, intricate, and marvelous dance– to spread the gifts of the sun into the darkest corners of the hive of your community. 

But you mustn’t kid yourself—you need to know that just as there are assassin bugs hidden in the curtains of the flower waiting to ambush the honeybee, there are doubts and fears hiding behind the curtains of your mind seeking to destroy your dreams and thwart your desires. 

So look before you leap.  There is little wisdom in just jumping into the darkness—no matter how romantic some people would like to make this act to sound.  Study yourself and what it is you want to share with the world.  Know yourself and your dreams.  Know what you’re after.  And while the honeybee is a lone forager, you needn’t embark on your journey alone.  Take the hand of a mentor and soar with them to the fields laden with possibilities that await those workers brave enough to face their fears and doubts and leave them far below, as they rise to new heights of creativity and wonder.


Many of you who know me or follow me on facebook or twitter, have heard me use the expression: “You’re the bee’s knees.”  Now you know why I say it.  Pass it on.  The world needs all the sweetness it can get—the sweetness of positive acknowledgement and praise, the honey of gratitude, and the pollen of encouragement.  It needs you and your baskets of destiny to go out into the world and spread the nectar of Your Heart’s Desire.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Your Heart’s Desire, Part 13, a Review and One Last List

Welcome Back Friends and Brave Travelers!

Before we embark on the most challenging
and rewarding task in Your Heart’s Desire,
it will be helpful to review how far we’ve come these last 12 weeks.

Here are some of the things you are learning thus far:

You are learning that in order to find your true place in life you need to be able to listen to the voice of God as It speaks to your heart (intuition).

You are learning how you really feel about God
and your relationship with that Power.

You are learning that you are indeed worthy to prosper in every way.

You are learning that God wants YOU
and that there is a special place
in God’s plan for you in the Universe.

You are learning that you needn’t ever compete for your true place in life.  You are the only person in the history of time that can and will fill that place.

You are learning that you needn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed 
for following your dreams.

You are learning that you have unique talents and gifts
 that God wants you to develope and share–
and have fun doing so!

You are learning to replace negative thoughts (without fighting them)
with positive ones.

You are learning that the real key to the Law of Attraction is giving to others.

You are learning that addictive behaviors play a significant role
 in keeping people from living their Heart’s Desire. 
You are learning that there is a solution to those behaviors.

You are learning that laws matter—both worldly and heavenly.

You are learning that you are not a victim. 
You are responsible for your life as it is today.

You are learning that you are channel for the Divine Mind.

You are learning that you hold within yourself hidden splendor and that
that splendor wants to be expressed for the betterment of yourself
and the world.

You are learning that you have free will.  You can create the life you want.

You are learning that resentments, fears, harms done to others, limiting beliefs, and so on, block the flow of the Divine Energy through you. 
You must become aware of these parts of yourself
and be willing to share them with someone else
so that the listener can help you find out your part in harboring such feelings and so you can release any shame attatched to them.

If you stop and think about it,
in just 12 short weeks you have learned a lot about yourself,
the nature of God
and Your dreams. 
You have done tremendous work. 
You have done more work in 12 weeks than most people
will do in a lifetime. 
You can feel proud of what you have accomplished thus far.

One Last List.

This week we will not read a paragraph from Emmet Fox.  Instead we will simply let you revel in how far you’ve come and then do one last, difficult list—the harms you have done to others.

Make a list similar to the last few lists, but this time, as honestly as you can, write down as many of the harms you can remember doing to other people or animals.  Have to stolen money?  Have you stolen time?  Have you stolen other people’s possessions?  That could mean anything from a pen to a car, and so on.  Have you ever broken something that belonged to someone else and never replaced it or paid for it?  Have you ever been physically violent to animals or other people?  Have you repeatedly broken promises and lied to others?  Have you used other people for your own gains?  Write everything down.  Start with one column and list who you harmed.  In the second column write what you did.  In the third column write why you did it, and in the forth column, write how you think the other person felt, or will feel about what you have done.

This is a difficult list and you might be thinking again that it is unnecessary to discovering Your Heart’s Desire.  I can assure you from personal experience and from the experience of watching scores of other people—that if you uncover these hard facts about yourself, you will discover Your True place in life, and hence recover Your Divine Birthright.

So finish the list and then yes, find a trusted person you can read it to. THIS IS CRUCIAL TO YOUR LONG-TERM SUCCESS.  YOU MUST GET OUT INTO THE LIGHT AND STOP HIDING AND KEEPING SECERETS. The world needs you—all of you.  So take the risk.  Get it all out.  You will be glad you did.


Name the person you harmed.

What did you do?  Be specific but brief.

Why did you do what you did?

How do you suppose the other person involved felt or will feel as a result of your action?





Some people may object to writing these lists—the resentment list, the fears list, and this list of harms.  They might say I am focusing too much on the negative, that sensitive people like us can’t handle such truth about ourselves.  To which I reply, the vessel needs to get clean, the channel needs to get clear, and we do not advance by shying away from painful truths about ourselves.  We do not advance if we look for only soft ways of living.  You are, of course, perfectly free to make a list of all the positive, wonderful characteristics you have, and I even encourage you to do so.  For now, we are preparing ourselves for the key to Your Heart’s Desire, and for that key you will need to know why you carry resentments and what and whom you resent.  You will need to know why and who or what you are afraid of.  And you will need to know who you have harmed.  The key to Your Heart’s Desire hinges on this information. 

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

A Christmas Story In July: Joseph, the Stars, the Animals, and the Shepherds–the Other First Mothers of the Holy Child

Joseph, the Stars, the Animals, and the Shepherds—the Other First Mothers of the Holy Child

By Joseph Anthony

The animals, the stars, the shepherds, and Joseph were the first to prepare a place for the Holy Child. The cow swept the floor of the stable room with her great, swishing tail. The horse, using his strong, massive head, nudged the manger into the clear, sun-lit spot that the cow had cleared off. The goat ate all the trash nearby that was too big for the cow to sweep. The barn swallows in the rafters sang the stars from the darkness, telling them to come out and light the stable for the tired family, and the way for the wise ones bearing gifts. The lambs woke the shepherds in the fields and told them to rise and go to the stable in the valley. And they obediently rose and went and stood guard by the door. The spiders spun the swaddling clothes and laid them in the manger. And the donkey? The donkey got to carry the Burden of Light and the mother with the dark eyes across the desert to the waiting stable. And Joseph? Joseph got the whole thing rolling when he listened to his dream. He had been doubting her story, while at the same time achingly trying to believe it. He had felt ashamed that Mary was with child and they were not yet married. But when the dream awoke him in the night with an angel speaking to him of Holy Ghosts and Saviors, and the name with which he was to give the Child, he obeyed. He rose and took Mary to Bethlehem.

But do not think for a moment that the animals acted purely out of kindness. Animals are animals and they were hungry for the golden food of the Divine Child. The stars too ached for an infusing of new light. And the shepherds had come because they had heard rumors of treasures being brought to the Child, and being poor shepherds, they would ask for a cut in the goods since they stood guard at the door while the baby was born.

Now before you start panicking at the image of the Holy Child being eaten by the animals, remember, according to your own traditions, that the Holy Child came to be eaten every Sunday. And do not think for a moment that He came to only be eaten by people. He came to be ingested by the world—most especially the animals that live within us all. And it is by nibbling the Holy Child with kisses that the animals are nourished. And the Child simply laughs for His body and His energy are inexhaustible, wildly lavish, and never ending. They are like all good bread—warm, golden, sweetened with honey, and fortified with the richest of grains.

And so after the Child was born, Mary and Joseph slept in each other’s arms. And as they did the shepherds stuffed their sacks with left over gold, and the stars inhaled huge bellyfulls of light, and the animals gathered around the manger bestowing big, wet, full-lipped kisses on the Child, much to His delight and laughter. And as they partook of Him, wings formed in their backs and their front legs became arms and hands, and their backs straightened, and they began moving in a circle around the Child as music streamed through the room like an audible wind. And they danced, a heavenly host of angels singing praises as their animal shadows danced along with them on the walls of the stable.

Then Joseph, always a light sleeper, opened one eye and peeked at the divine, rollicking dance. And he gently rose so as not to rouse the sleeping Mary and stepped into the circle, taking the hands of the angels on either side of him. And he danced and he wept for the sheer joy and exhaustion and the worry and the fear and the shame of those last few months. And all of his pent emotions were released from his body as he whirled around the manger in the circle of animal angels. Whoever this Holy Ghost Father was, Joseph was just happy to be asked to raise the Child. And as he danced he knew then that he must teach the Child to build with wood, to use His hands to be gentle and strong and healing, to fashion useful and beautiful tables for families to eat at and talk about their day. For not only did the animals and the stars and the people need the touch of the Holy Child, but so did the trees and the hammers and the saws, and the nails.

And then, as the angels fell back to all fours and their wings folded, neatly tucked into their shoulders, Joseph patted each animal on its large, solid forehead and then turned to go back to sleep with Mary, who for her part, had woken too, but being too tired to dance simply watched her dear Joseph dancing with the animals and wept for gladness at having such a wonderful man.

And as Joseph turned to go back to the straw covered floor, he looked at the Beautiful Child smiling up at him from the manger. He bent low, looked deeply into the Child’s eyes of sky and of stars, and kissed Him. Joseph was taken aback with a shock by the sweetness of the Child’s skin. The flavor coursed through him like warm apple cider on a crisp, cool autumn day. And the Child reached up and played with Joseph’s tear-soaked beard and said, “Thank you. Thank you for listening to your dreams. They were my first gifts to you and you honored them by sharing them with Mary and the donkey. So thank you. Thank you for opening your heart to me.”

And as Joseph lay back down, taking Mary into his arms, he wept some more. For there would be more dreams. And some of them would be dark, blood-filled dreams; dreams of Herod and of pyramids; dreams of bird-headed beings and jackel-headed beings, and someone called Osiris; and a goddess—Isis–was to come to him in a dream and beckon him to bring the Child to her land. She would promise protection and safe passage beneath Nut, goddess of the stars. And then there would be other dreams— dreams of frantic searches for the Holy Child in crowded streets; dreams of wine flowing at parties and Passovers; and reoccurring dreams of a symbol he did not understand—two beams of wood forming a cross. Those dreams would both trouble and enliven him the most, and it would be years before he understood why; and there would be dreams of the dead rising, dancing from the grave as flesh flew back to their bones; and there would be dreams of heavenly cities of gold descending from the sky; and lovely, lovely wood-scented dreams of building tables with the Holy Child while laughing, singing, and looking into each other’s wonder-filled eyes.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Your Heart’s Desire, Part 12, Paragraph 16

Welcome Back Dear Friends!

Part 10, with its inventories, might have proven to be the most difficult ones

you’ve had yet at Your Heart’s Desire. 

I congratulate you if you got through all of the exercises as outlined.


you can only get out of this course

what you put in

and the more truthfully and earnestly you strive,

the more Your Heart’s Desire

will manifest in ways you seek. 

If you really did the exercise

of reading your lists to someone you trust

you are probably feeling lighter

and freer than you have in a long time

—maybe ever. 

That’s the goal. 

So keep trekking. 

This week is similar to Part 10,

so get those pencils, yellow legal pads,

and buddies ready.

Paragraph 16, by Emmet Fox

“When we are in a condition of fear, anger, or worry, our Divine Energy, instead of flowing in some positive, creative work, becomes damned up within ourselves, like the water in the garden hose, and produces all sorts of trouble in soul and body.  Meanwhile, our true work in life is either missed altogether, or, starved of the supply of Life Force which it should receive, it languishes accordingly, and we get mediocrity, poverty, and failure.”

Commentary, Questions, and Exercises, by Joseph Anthony

You can see how these last two paragraphs are helping you move towards your Heart’s Desire.  If you want to hear the whisperings of God you need a clear channel.  And to clear the channel you need to be free of fear, anger, spiritual pride, criticisms of others, and so on.  You can see, judging from the amount of failure, mediocrity, and poverty there is in the world, how most people live in this place.  You can see in your own life that when you focus on past resentments and fears, regrets, and self pity, how easy it is to settle for mediocrity–it takes so much energy to live in fears or angers, real or imagined, that there is little left for real living.   

The Big Book says that harboring feelings such as resentments “shut us off from the Sunlight of the Spirit.”  We can easily see how this is the case.  The Big Book also says that fear is “an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it.  It set into motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn’t deserve.  But didn’t we, ourselves, set the ball rolling?”

Obviously some of our fears we didn’t consciously set the ball rolling for.  I seem to have been born with a fear of spiders—it’s just always been there.  My fear of violence however, was inspired by violent things happening to me, but it was also inspired by the countless disgustingly violent movies I watched as a teen and young adult.  I also used to fantasize for hours about either having violence done to me or me doing violence to others.  That’s just the sad truth.  In addition, I hungered for gloom and doom news.  I constantly listened to radio programs and watched television shows that bemoaned the destruction of the environment.  I was fascinated by headlines of violence and mayhem, and I slowed down to stare at car accidents and dead animals on the side of the road.  There were lost, wasted days and nights when I sat looking at YouTube trying to find the most frightening and violent images I could find. 

I share these personal facts about my past to illustrate what the Big Book says, namely, that many of our fears we set into motion, or at very least perpetuate, ourselves. 

There was one other way I used to set the ball of fear rolling in my life—I used to live dishonestly.  I was a thief, a liar, and a cheat.  So I went around paranoid that the people I had stolen from were around every corner.  Luckily I was able to live out the key to my Heart’s Desire (which we’ll find in Part 13) and thus have freed myself of this checkered, destructive, and painful past. 

It is my hopes that by me sharing my story a little bit some of you will identify enough to dig deep into your minds to uncover your deepest fears and get them on paper.

Finally, as we clear out our resentments thoroughly and sincerely, the Big Book says we “straighten out mentally and physically.”  Who among us hasn’t experienced a pain in their guts or back only to have it disappear after dealing with a deep seeded resentment or fear?  Our bodies, souls, and minds are linked.  When we do healing work in one area, the other two areas are positively affected.


1). How have you settled for mediocrity in your life as a result of living in past resentments and fears?

2). Have you ever blamed your own failures on other people or events that happened years or maybe decades ago?


1). Make a list like last week, but this time inventory your fears.  Write as many as you can, being as honest and thorough as possible.  Write down even the ones that sound silly.  Get them all down.  Try not to minimize your feelings in these inventories.  All of your feelings are important here.  When you’re finished, read this list to your trusted friend or counselor.

Name the person, place, idea, dream, or circumstance you are afraid of.  No sentences-just name the fear.

Why are you afraid of this person, event, idea, or dream?  What happened in as short a retelling as possible?

What part of you is threatened by this fear? Your pocket-book, self esteem,  relationships, sex relations, social prestige, ambitions, or pride?

How did you, if at all, get the ball rolling?






2). If watching or listening to depressing, gloom and doom media stories makes you afraid or anxious, consider stopping listening and watching them.  Remember–if it hurts—stop.  If it makes you crazy—stop.  Go on a media-free fast for the next few weeks just to help clear out the negative thoughts.

3). Make a list of your so-called failures, and inventory if they’ve taught you anything that has proven to be helpful.  Has any aspects of past failures proven to be positive in any way?

Great work, friends. You are ever so close to living the spiritual practice that will enable you to begin listening to God’s voice—the whispers of Your Heart’s Desire.  Next week, we have one last list to write and a little review, and then, in Part 14, we get the key to it all.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Circles, A Story Inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson

He stood looking outwards towards the horizon.  He turned a slow pirouette, and saw horizon beget horizon. He knew the vision around him revolved from where he stood; that he was the central fact of things; that indeed it was he that sent the world spinning. His thoughts propelled the movement of the cities, the commerce, and the expansion of all the information that we see and know. He was Reason and surely all things revolved around Reason.

Until the trembling began.  From below him the ground shook and continued shaking until he was toppled from his center, and there arose in his place another, whose vision of the horizon circumscribed his until his were but the tiniest ripples in the pond and the new man’s the outermost.

The new man reveled in his place of centrality.  His eyes inscribed wider and wider circles for he was Understanding and he knew that Reason was useless without him.  Indeed, he knew that he himself—Understanding–ruled the world.  And thus he stood, slowly turning and scanning the horizons, admiring the width of all that was his.

And then the ground again began to quake.  It took longer for Understanding to teeter off his center, but teeter he did as the ground below him opened and up pushed a woman dusting off her skirt and blouse.  Gradually she realized her place.  Her eyes adjusted to the vastness around her.  Her vision of the surrounding horizon quickly outran the first two men’s and the circles of her understanding stretched much further than theirs.  For she was Beauty and she knew that without her, Reason and Understanding were nothing.  Understanding fell in love with her and from their union Wisdom was born.  And Wisdom thought herself unconquerable, as she stared out over the vast expanse of land, while the other three stood helplessly in her shadow.  Until another woman rose from the depth, more beautiful than Wisdom.  Her name was Power. And Wisdom and Power were both beautiful, more beautiful than Beauty herself.  And each woman’s vision of beauty was eclipsed by the other’s, making the other’s seem almost insignificant. 

And so on and so on, woman after woman, man after man were born, each making the circles of the last seem tiny and impermanent, as if drawn in the sand. And each had their own spin on the ever-expanding vision: Intelligence, Beauty, Philosophy, Science, Feelings, Industry, Religion, Character, and more than a few employed variations of Truth to grow their horizons, but even these were outrun by greater visions of Truth that appeared with every new generation.  Some even reached back and pulled the visions of Truth from the pages of history and the world rejoiced in the seeming newness of the old until, at last, these too gave way to even greater circle of progress.

Yet it did not escape a single one of the people standing in the circles within circles that the horizon had become a kind of prison—a border, a boundary that they could never scale.  If they moved closer it moved away, and some of the people began to feel trapped, hopeless, caged.  People began to notice that the earth no longer shook when a new visionary arose.  A thin, metal flavor of futility began appearing in everything they ate or drank.  Panic spread as a gray dust began coating everything over time. And then the wars began.

Reason attacked Understanding and Intelligence attacked Philosophy, Logic tried to stomp them all, as did Feelings.  And Feelings seemed to be winning all the battles until Religion stepped in and began attacking Beauty and this calmed things down for awhile, until Science attacked Religion.  But then each successive Religion began believing their own vision to be the circumscriber of all other horizons and began belittling the others and very soon they too were at war, and once the wars over Religion bloomed, all hell broke loose and pretty soon the horizon came to be known as Death and everyone tried to run towards their own center to escape that final horizon that seemed to both draw closer to them and roll elusively away.  And it was this dance of Death coming closer and moving away that drove many of the people mad because they could not reconcile a horizon that expanded and contracted in such horrible waves.  And millennia passed, and things seemed very dark indeed. 

And then there was another opening, only this one came from above.  The sky opened the immense blue curtains laced with white to reveal a light so dazzling the world seemed to slow and to stop.  The light descended as a sphere, glowing and vibrating with an unseen bell and an invisible harp.  And as the sphere touched the ground, it burst revealing a child—a child so radiant the horizon lines began to dissolve and the people turned away from them and towards this new center.  They found themselves bending their knees and falling upon their faces. 

“Arise,” said the child, “I am not an idol.  I am not to be worshipped.”

“Then why have you come?  Are you not our salvation?” the people asked.

“I have come to bring you a gift.  And it is not salvation.  Salvation is only the storing up of your souls in some distant place, and that is what you have all been doing already and what have you gained?”

“Some say we have gained eternal life.” said the people.

“But look around you.  You see the horizon you call Death approaching.  That is your eternity.  No, the gift I bring demands you open the storehouses of your souls and spill yourselves over into one another, flooding the horizon with the combined force of your letting go.”

The people were speechless.  They had never heard such talk. 

“But what is this gift you bring?” They finally asked, “What is the gift that will blend us with one another in such a way as to dissolve the horizon?”

“It is a trinity,” said the child, “it is a gift in three parts.  Use them separately and you shall have great joy, use them together and your joy shall be unending and the horizon will never threaten you again.  It will become what it is—yourselves.  The horizon is simply an extension of you.  And if you fear the horizon it is because you fear yourselves—you fear the limitless within yourselves.  You fear your own true power.”

“The gift,” the people cried, “what is the gift?”

“It is a trinity made up of Innocence, Play, and Wonder.  And it is called Love.  And Its nature is to give and to share.  It is to create and to merge together.  It is to dream unending dreams of unity and service, delight and commitment, possibilities and hope.  It is to Create.”

The people were stunned.  They stood there and suddenly realized they no longer feared the horizon.  When they turned to look it seemed much closer, like a breath, like a touch.  And it was no longer threatening and it was no longer a cage.  It had somehow transformed into an actual vision of Wonder and this vision blossomed with a fragrance of adventure that drew all of the various people together.  Reason and Understanding walked hand in hand with Beauty and Religion and Science.  Even Truth joined hands with Character and became inseparable.  And all because Love had come.  Love had entered the circle as a child and became the circle.

 Love, as given by the child in the forms of Innocence, Play, and Wonder, had loosened the souls from their bounds and blessed them to run together like beautiful rivers towards a horizon that was at once within them and without.  It was Now and it was Evermore. 

And the horizon’s name even changed.  It became known as The Ocean of Possibilities.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Ralph Waldo Emerson–America’s Mystic, and the New Curriculum for Teenagers of All Ages

“Life is a series of surprises.”–Emerson


I propose we throw out all the text books in all of our nation’s high schools and make Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays required reading (alongside the poetry of Mary Oliver).  Have every student create a story or play, a song or a dance, or a mural based on their understanding of one of Emerson’s essays.  Have them write their own essays and speeches modeled after Emerson’s.  Not only would the drug and crime rates drop in our country, but the country would blossom in unimaginably beautiful ways when our young people are infused with such depth and breadth of wisdom as Emerson’s words contain.

One essay I would have every high schooler read would be the one entitled, “Circles.” It is challenging and inspiring, moving and frightening, poetic and profoundly wise.

It begins:

“The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end.”

In this masterful essay Emerson uses the form of circles to describe the nature of human progress, and the course of our conversations.  He uses the image of circles to describe relationship between friends.  He uses the circle to describe our religious longings and leanings. He employs the image of ever widening ripples to challenge our experience of permanence and the efficacy of our ideas.  He uses the circle to describe the growth of a person’s life.

“The life of man is a self-evolving circle, which, from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outward to new and larger circles and that without end.”

We find even the poets (whom Emerson both values and writes as) use this image.  Here’s Rilke translated by Robert Bly:

                        I live my life in growing orbits
                        which move out over the things of the world.
                        Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
                        but that will be my attempt.

                        I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
                        and I have been circling for a thousand years,
                        and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm,
                        or a great song.



In his essay Emerson also prefigures what we call today the Law of Attraction when he says:

 “Like draws to like; and…the goods which belong to you, gravitate to you, and need not be pursued with pains and cost.”

Moreover Emerson tells us the only reason we are aware of this movement of circles in our lives is because we have “some principle of fixture of stability in the soul.  While the eternal generation of circles proceeds, the eternal generator abides.”

And to me, that “eternal generator” of new horizons is our Heart’s Desire as spoken by God into our very souls–it is the fixed point from which we move.

But following our dreams can be difficult.  We will need to change and to rise up from where we are presently.  We must accept that life changes, that life is indeed cyclical in nature:

“Thus there is no sleep, no pause, no preservation, but all things renew, germinate, and spring.”

Emerson encourages us to challenge the idea that we even need to grow old—spiritually, that is.  He says we should, “grow young.”  For it is the state of infancy Emerson suggests that is “receptive, aspiring, with religious eye looking upward…and that abandons itself to the instruction flowing from all sides.” 

And how do we become like little children?  What do we seek in this life full of circles?  Emerson puts the answer this way:

“The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire, is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose out sempiternal [eternal, unchanging] memory, and to do something without knowing how or why; in short, to draw a new circle.”

And if you ever watch a young child drawing, one of the first things they ever scribble, perhaps the very first—are circles—in the sand, on the wall, with finger paint, on paper—young children adore drawing circles.  We must regain this innocence and ability to create.

To do this Emerson says we need enthusiasm.  For “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  When we are following our dreams, pursuing and dancing with our dreams right to the utmost horizons we are driven by passion and enthusiasm.  For, “the way of life is wonderful…it is abandonment.”  We must abandon ourselves to our dreams, to the drawing of new circles—which is exactly the way a child draws.

But there is a warning.  There is one thing Emerson says that can be almost as intoxicating as following our dreams, something that if we become ensnared in it, our dreams can easily die.  Something teenagers need to be truly educated in–in terms of the consequences and horriffic effects it causes. What is it he refers to?  Addiction.  In particular he mentions opium and alcohol, but we could add all the myriad of addictions that were not officially named in Emerson’s time, but that our young people are subject to.

The point is addictions “ape in some manner the flames and generosities of the heart.” They allure us with promises, counterfeit promises that once we touch them they dissolve in our hands, but as they do so they cast a spell which makes the addict crave more promises—the next one will be different. 

Emerson actually ends his beautiful meditation with the somber, frightening warning to steer away from the drugs that make our passions “wild.” 

But luckily, if we are astute readers, he gives the cure earlier in his essay:

“The key to every man,” he says, “is his thought.”  We all have an inner helm “which we obey.”  And we can only be reformed by being shown “a new idea which commands his own.”  For the heart “refuses to be imprisoned.”  Eventually, (if the addict survives) the pain gets bad enough in his mind, in his body, or his soul , and he seeks a new thought, a new way of living, and is brought back from the gates of hell into the land of surprises, the land of the living, the land where dreams come true—and his heart is set free.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

The Spiritual Aspects of the Body


Many religions view the body as a necessary evil.  Some say it is a temple and yet condemn its desires to procreate and its innate abilities to dance.  Some say it is a cloak to be shed and discarded when the great light comes.  Other religions say we were made, “in all ways,” like God, and yet post strict rules on what we can eat, drink, or on what and how we can sing. Some believe the body is a treasure chest holding a deeper, truer body–a celestial being—making the body essentially a carrier for the soul or the “real” self (And why not think this?—It’s in our language after all—even I use the term, “my” body in this post.  Who is the “my?”).  Still other religions divide the body into sinews and chemicals, bones and various liquids that will one day dissolve into dust leaving behind a vague, drifting energy that will hopefully find another body to inhabit so that it can move closer on its steady, evolutionary ascent from animal to God.

After many years of despising the body and being involved in several of those systems that viewed the body, along with its sister Nature, as evil—I have finally settled into a place of self acceptance.  In my case this took years—decades.  And I still have a long way to go in terms of treating my body right in terms of food, exercise, and sleep, but changes are being made and being made with a gentleness and joy that signals the ease with which I move my body today.

The body used to mean pain and shame, and I dreaded pain and discomfort. At the slightest hint of a headache I would be downing aspirin.  In addition, I withered under the weight of what I imagined people thought of my body—I wouldn’t wear shorts for fear of people laughing at my skinny legs.  I would never take off my shirt if I got into a pool (which was rare because of my inability to swim) for fear people would laugh at my skinny arms.  I used to walk with my chest puffed out while sucking in my gut to make it look like I was strong. 

So what changed? Three years ago when I profoundly accepted my utter inability to manage my own life and began opening my heart just enough to let other people help me, the realization dawned that I was a child of God.  It took awhile to sink in, but gradually, with the enormous help of EFT, my body became an integrated part of an organic wholeness.  My body was no longer something to deny or despise.  It was to be guarded as holy in and of itself.  Never again would I let myself be victimized, used, or abused. That meant if I needed to set boundaries and not let myself be touched in any way, then that is what I did.  If I needed to take a nap I did.  If I needed to let myself be touched then I did.  The decision was mine.  For if my body was God given and God created—in the image of God no less, then it was something to be celebrated and used for good.  It was the ultimate expression of the spirit and the true desires of the heart. 

And so as human beings we embrace when happy, grateful, or in the act of either comforting or being comforted–our bodies instinctively move to open us to touch hearts.  When we see someone else crying tears form in our own eyes.  When someone else laughs we laugh.  These are all physical manifestations of souls connecting via the loving guidance of the body.

What then exactly are the spiritual aspects of the body? Your eyes, your fingers and toes, your lungs, your skin and hair, your ears, your various systems—digestive, respiratory, reproductive, endocrine, and so on—all of you.  You–body and soul together as one tapestry of heavenly creation—are spiritual.  So rejoice.  Dance.  Play. Revel in the senses. Eat something you love and know your body isn’t just some sort of elaborate taxi for the soul—your body IS your soul expressed in the last act of Divinity.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Your Heart’s Desire, Part 11, a Manifestation of Abundance, the Law of Attraction, and Following Your Dreams


As one begins to follow their Heart’s Desire, wonderful, and otherwise, unaccountable things happen to both encourage you and guide you along the way.  It might be a chance encounter with a homeless person in the city, or a check might arrive in the mail just when you need it most.  It might also come in the form of a vacation.  Here is a little story that happened to my wife and I that affirmed I am on the right track with my Heart’s Desire.


A few months ago, my friend Daryn asked if I’d be a groomsman in his wedding.  He was getting married, May 28th in Phoenix.  Living in Philly, and with an uncertain employment future, I initially told him I wouldn’t be able to do it.  I felt sad about this because May 28th is also my wedding anniversary, and this year my wife and I will have been married for 17 years, and we have never gone on a trip for our anniversary before.  I also wanted to support Daryn on his big day. I really wanted to make it happen somehow.

So I just kept it treasured in my heart and in my mind, and I kept living my dreams of being a writer and musician. 

Then one day Daryn said he really wanted me in his wedding, so much so that he said he’d pay for our plane tickets.  After talking it over with my wife, we accepted his offer.  The next day, my in-laws said we could use their time share—they have one in Phoenix!  So our lodging was covered!  They even said they’d watch the kids, the dog, AND the bunny while we were away!  Then my wife remembered she had $700 gift certificate from the college she teaches at that could be spent on any vacation we choose.  Suddenly our trip was completely covered—childcare and all!

And so we went and we had a beautiful time.  We hiked in Sedona, ate at nice restaurants, shopped in amazing art stores, visited chapels built into mountains, and walked through amazing outdoor art galleries.  We had the best anniversary ever.  And being in Daryn’s wedding was a blessing too!  Daryn and his wife were sweet, their wedding was beautiful, and my wife and I got to dance our wedding song again on our 17th wedding anniversary.  It was a very special time.

Lefty reminded me the other day that abundance doesn’t necessarily show up in the bank account.  I really wanted to take my wife on a trip and also support my friend Daryn, and those thoughts, backed by strong feelings (prayers) were sent out into the world, and God sent them back and said, “Here–go.  It’s on Me.  This will help you follow Your Heart’s Desire.”

And so we went.  I am including some video footage of some of the sites.  Please pardon the wind sounds…I haven’t come close to mastering the movie-making programs.  Enjoy.

Next week we will work on another list, so get those pencils and buddies ready.  You are clearing the channel, step by step, and Your Heart’s Desire is moving towards you.  And the more you move towards it, the more amazing things happen!

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Unto Us a Child is Born

Looking back he could see there were signs.  There was the aching pressure inside—a relentless pushing on the heart.  There was a deep, inexplicable urge to flail about and weep.  There was the uncontrollable moaning and the stinging and unapologetic contractions of his ability to notice anything else except the wound.


There was the seemingly insatiable hunger for the bizarre, the twisted, the perverse, and the terrifying.  Ingesting these somehow fueled the desire for light and more light—not a recommended daily-allowance diet–but it worked for him because there was grace and mercy woven through it all. Nothing else could transform such food into glorious nourishment.


There was the thirst for touch combined with a shockingly violent aversion to it.  Touches came and then the instantaneous flashing recoil—like a frightened snake.


And yet, through all of this, the most telling signs were the flowers, the moon, the fireflies, and the toads, the appearances of the praying mantis tilting her triangular shaped face, while she preened her front claws; there were the appearances of the slender, golden koi with their wise, whiskered faces and their flowing fins that trilled in the dark waters, where years before nothing stirred. 


So even though the darkness shrouded him like a silken cocoon, even though he felt himself dissolving into the liquid of grieving, even though parts of his heart hardened, he could sense the temporary nature of it all.  He could sense wings forming in his back—with little, unscratchable itches between his shoulder blades; he could sense signals of being able to move great pages of appendages that were not yet visible.


And there was the light, especially the light of the fireflies that made it alright for the wound to widen.  There was something in their dazzling flashes of brilliance—staccato signals of visible Morse Code, tiny celebratory fireworks, little bits and pieces of some unseen bonfire rising into the summer night. 


And the darkness–sweet, blessed darkness that made it all so.


He came to love the darkness.  The darkness held such wonder.


Like the time he drove down highway 179 in Sedona at midnight for the first time.  He did not know he was surrounded by mountains.  All he could see was the barely-lit road ahead, and all he could think of was: “Where am I going? Where is the exit?”


He did not know he was being watched by the gentlest of souls, towering and majestic, yet bending towards him.  He did not know they were there, and yet, sheltering him from other storms they stood, and to keep up with him, they picked up their ancient skirts and cloaks and followed him with silent, graceful movements.  There were no earthquakes or avalanches—just mountains that both stood and danced around him in the darkness, guiding and keeping him from harm.  They were more than sentinels; they were angels of the greatest tenderness.


And so when he watched the fireflies rising from the cemetery grass, like souls dancing in the night, when he saw the fireflies garland the tops of the trees, he knew the darkness inside was good, provided he never lose his ability to sense the light. 


For this darkness held the seeds of light.  This darkness nursed beings of light.  This darkness WAS the light in its first flush and flower.


And that gift of being able to sense the light was given to him by countless angels along the way.  They would meet him in unexpected places, cup their hands together and pass the light to him—soul to soul, cupped hands to cupped hands spreading the wonder of the light.


So when the water broke and the tears came in a sudden flood, and the contractions curled him up on the floor, and when the pain—that deep, relentless pain flashed and exploded within him—somewhere inside he held on to the great and terrible hands of the mountains, somehow he held the light of the fireflies in his voice, and starlight in his tears…and then…


…almost without realizing it, almost without a sound

the child was born.

stillness bloomed.

 A calmness that walked the borders of bliss thrummed the air like a harp of gladness.

And the singing began.  The words flowed—images and silver threads, weaving it all together into a living, organic tapestry of such grand fluidity that he could only ease back and watch in wonder.

And as he listened to the child singing and speaking the Word, the child suddenly turned and faced him, and held out his hand saying: “Rise, dear fathermother, we are one and we must go—adventure beckons.  For there are many others in the throes of labor, and we must find them and midwife them into the world.”

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

The Art of Facing Your Dragons: A Collaborative Post by Jean Raffa and Joseph Anthony

Profile Picture: Jean Raffa                                                  
Jean Raffa

I am thrilled to be able to introduce you to a new friend of mine, Doctor Jean Raffa.  I met Jean on twitter of all places.  One or the other of us commented on one or the other’s tweet, and the rest is present day history in the making.  Here is how Jean is described on her marvelous blog: Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom: ( :

Dr. Jean Raffa is an author, speaker, and leader of workshops, dream groups, and study groups. Her job history includes teacher, television producer, college professor, and instructor at the Disney Institute in Orlando and The Jung Center in Winter Park, FL. She is the author of three books, a workbook, a chapter in a college text, numerous articles in professional journals, and a series of meditations and short stories for Augsburg Fortress Publisher.

Through formal and informal means, including a five-year Centerpoint course and an intensive at the Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, Jean has been studying Jungian psychology and her own inner life for more than twenty years.

Since 1992, Jean has made more than a hundred program appearances, including television, radio, and Internet interviews, classes, workshops, and book signings. Her book The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth (LuraMedia, 1992) was nominated for the Benjamin Franklin Award for best psychology book of 1992. Reviewed in several journals and featured on the reading lists of university courses, it was also picked by the Isabella catalogue as a must-read for seeking women.

Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine Through Jungian Dreamwork (Innisfree Press, Inc., 1994) has been used in dreamwork courses throughout the country and is included in’s list of the Top 100 Best Selling Dream Books, and TCM’s book list of Human Resources for Organizational Development.

Jean is married with two adult children—a daughter with a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy and a son with a Ph.D. in Economics—and five grandchildren. She currently lives in Maitland, Florida and Highlands, North Carolina with her economist husband, Fred.

As you can see it is an honor to have her here today. 

What we’re going to do is read a post called, ‘Dragon Lady: The Shadow of the Queen” that Jean wrote on July fifth, and then we’ll read the comment I posted on her blog, and her response to my comment.  We’ll end it all with a story I wrote at 1:30 AM on July 5th after reading Jean’s wonderful post. 

She is writing a Part Two to her Dragon Lady post tomorrow, July 8th, so please check it out.  Here’s the link:   I will also be adding her blog to our blogroll on the left side of your screen.

So grab a cup of ice-coffee or ice-tea, a smoothie, or a cold glass of lemonade.  This entry will be a little longer than usual, but it’s well worth it.  Please read Jean’s article on the Dragon Lady.  It is both fascinating and inspiring.  And then check out her blog tomorrow for part 2.  Cheers everyone!

Dragon Lady: Shadow of the Queen, by Jean Raffa

 July 5, 2011

The Western world has been obsessed with the masculine aspects of Deity for thousands of years. As a result, to experience the Sacred Feminine we must be willing to follow Bear into the remote caverns in our unconscious selves where we have dumped all our unwanted garbage in hopes we could forget it ever existed.  In sum, we must be willing to develop a relationship with our “dragons,” by which I mean our frightening, disowned, less-than-lovely selves.

The myths that emerged in the Near East around 2000 BC featured a male deity who, unlike the son/lover of the previous Goddess religion, was a storm god of fire and lightning who conquered a dragon of darkness and evil. According to Merlin Stone, author of When God Was a Woman, “…the plot and the underlying symbolic theme of the story is so similar in each myth that, judging from the stories that do use the name of the female deity, we may surmise that the allegorical identity of the dragon or serpent is that of the Goddess religion.”  Some still call a powerful, assertive woman a Dragon Lady. To many males, especially those with domineering mothers, their own feminine sides and some women seem extremely dragon-like:  something terrible and threatening that needs to be overcome.  Jung agreed and considered the dragon to be “a mother-image (that is, a mirror of the maternal principle or of the unconscious)…”

But the dragon is by no means all negative.  Hindus and Taoists consider dragons to be powerful spiritual beings, masters of the waters and guardians of treasures, especially the pearl of perfection that symbolizes enlightenment and bestows immortality. The Herder Symbol Dictionary says that in China and Japan the dragon grants fertility “because it is closely associated with the powers of water and hence with the yin [feminine] principle.” Thus, one meaning of this paradoxical symbol is that if we wish to attain the highest levels of consciousness and spirituality, we need to face all the despised and rejected qualities we have relegated to the feminine unconscious, and it is this descent that earns us the ultimate prize.

Unconscious parts of ourselves acquire negative power because of the well-known psychological law that the longer and harder we repress them, the more energy we give them until they start influencing our behavior in disagreeable ways.  They are like sweet little girl dragons which start out innocently enough.  If we love them and allow them to come out and play they will grow up to become our friends. But if we ignore them and starve them and keep them cooped up in dark and cramped cages — in much the same way many male-dominated cultures have treated women and their own feminine sides —  they grow stronger and angrier every day.

While the bad news is that facing the Dragon Lady, a symbol for the Queen archetype’s shadow side — i.e., the regressive powers of the feminine unconscious — can be very painful, the good news is that she can initiate us into a far nobler fate than we could ever imagine.  After all, if Snow White had not been terrorized by the evil Queen she never would have run into the wilderness, met her protectors, the seven dwarves, eaten the poisoned apple, or been awakened by the kiss of the prince to experience union with her Beloved.

Prince Ego’s search for the princess, our unconscious feminine self, is the authentic hero’s journey, and their union symbolizes wholeness or enlightenment, the ultimate prize and true destiny of every soul.

And here is our exchange on Jean’s blog:


Well, Jean, your post has inspired me again. You might know from following me on twitter that dragons sometimes appear in my messages…and they almost always have a child with them. Here are a couple that I wrote over the past month or so just to give you an idea of where this response is going:

The child curled up snug against the side of the dragon. And the dragon smiled and shifted his wings to create a kind of tent over him.

The dragon lowered his head and said, “Do I really have to say sorry to the villagers?” “Yes,” said the child, “and then fix their barns.”

So, I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination in Jungian archetypes. I just write what comes.

And sadness came when I read your post. Sadness at thinking of the negative ways women have been treated by men. Sadness came at the thought of the negative ways men have been treated by women. Hurt people hurt, no matter the gender… And I am someone who suffered abuse from the hands of both sexes…So I know; I can still get frightened by the wounded dragons of both men and women. And I have also lashed out to avenge the pain…But that was long, long ago. Sadness also came when I thought about how poorly dragons have been treated also.

But Wonder also came when I read your post however, and much Hope. And I thought: “OK, going to meet our dragons is hard and terrifying. But having come back from the journey many times over these past few years, I know it is not only possible, but Wonderful. Here is what I have found.

What is in the heart of the darkness? Light. And where does the Light come from? The eyes of the dragons. And what makes their eyes shine like fire? Their hearts. And where does the fire in their hearts come from? Many sources. One is their pain…And their pain comes from each of us in one way shape or form. Another source is their joy. And their joy comes from those who journey to face them.

And when I faced my dragons I did not go with a masculine or feminine energy. I went as a child. That might sound cute, but it’s true, and it wasn’t a conscious choice. And I don’t mean necessarily, my inner child—there’s too much idolatry wrapped up in that term now. I mean, perhaps, an archetypal image of both creative power and wonder, and innocence—Divine Innocence. Of course within the heart of that child burned masculine and feminine fires, but it was a child nevertheless that made the journey into the darkness. And the child did not go to kill or subdue the dragons, the child went to Love them.

Your post also inspired a story, but I don’t want to hog up too much more space, so I’ll send it to you personally Jean on fb to do with as you wish.

Thank you again for the inspiration.

Your friend along the journey,


  • jeanraffa Says:

    Dear Joseph,

    Jungians have a name for your symbol of childish wonder: it’s called the Divine Child. It can appear in dreams as a very wise, beautiful, precocious, or otherwise unusual and fascinating child, and is, as you have so rightly intuited, a symbol for the Self, the archetype of divinity, love, wholeness, etc. Facing your dragons with the openness and trust of a child is the healing way. I salute you for trusting and following your intuition so beautifully, and look forward to reading your story.



And last, but not least, here’s the story I wrote that Jean inspired:

Once upon a time a child traveled inside the Darkness of Darkness. He had heard dragons prowled there—starving dragons, wild with hunger and pain. He had heard that the stars in the sky are the fragments of the armor of the foolish knights who tried to kill the dragons. They didn’t get within 50 feet of the dragons before fire flew towards them, entered the openings in their gilded feet and rushed upwards exploding the knight from inside his own armor sending him and his armor into a thousand, thousand pieces. And the armor makes the shining stars.

More recently, brave warrior women thought they could subdue the dragons so they went to face them. But alas, being more or less wiser than the knights they therefore didn’t allow themselves to get so close as to be eaten by fire. So they stood off at a great distance and sang their muscles and spells into the earth. And their powers wove through the sand like a snake. And they rose up in the dragon’s cave and formed bounds around their scarred, scaly bodies. Amused and outraged at the audacity of the warrior women—at even thinking about trying to subdue them, the dragons shook off the cords like string made of sugar and sang back a melody of power into their heads that was so intoxicating that they simply danced away and decided to become knights. But that’s OK, the knights have all quit being knights so they could became warrior women…but that’s another story.

And so it was a child who danced and played and otherwise performed all manner of shenanigans on the way to the dragon’s cave. And being altogether wiser than the both the knights and the warrior women, he learned from their fatal mistake of going to visit the dragons in order to kill or subdue them…The child went to Love them.

And before the dragons knew what was happening, a child stood in their midst.

“Leave us,” they snarled, “we have been too long forgotten. We are hungry and we have eaten many a child before…”

“But I am here because I remembered you,” said the child. “I am here to feed you. What I mean is, I am here to Love you.”

“LOVE US!” cried the dragons, “No one loves us.”

And the child, sensing their pain, moved towards them like a breath of honeysuckle, and placed his hand on one of the dragon’s faces.

“I do,” he said. And as tears fell from his own eyes, he looked those dragons right into their eyes and let the Light stream from his eyes and his hands and travel down, down, down into their dry, smoldering hearts.

“Don’t extinguish our fires,” wept the dragons.

“Never,’ said the child, “I am making them stronger so that they can be used to one day save the world.”


This is a painting I did twenty years ago, called, “Eye of the Dragon.”

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog


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